Meath East TD, Darren O’Rourke has his out at the cost of houses in the county.
The Sinn Féin deputy told the Dáil, “The shortage of, and absolute need for, affordable homes to buy is a major issue throughout the State and in my own county of Meath. In Meath, we have a proven track record, relative to other counties, in delivering housing, but it is nowhere near enough to meet demand. The census results announced this week further confirm that to be the case – with record low numbers of home ownership and record high numbers of children living at home for longer and longer. The Government’s targets are way below what is needed, especially according to the Housing Commission.
“The current spatial strategy plans to significantly curtail development in the county during the lifetime of the current Meath County Development Plan to 2027. We have development in Meath, which is welcome, but it is slowing. Unfortunately, what development we have is most certainly not affordable to buy or rent; the exact opposite is the case.
“I looked at what is available to buy in my own constituency of Meath East on this morning. Very little was available by way of secondhand homes. With regard to new homes, there were two-bedroom homes in Dunshaughlin from €375,000; three-bedroom terraced houses in the same estate from €445,000; three-bedroom semi-detached houses in a new estate in Ashbourne from €475,000; and four-bedroom houses in Ratoath starting at €539,000. These are simply unaffordable.
“This is not an academic debate. It has a real and profound impact on people. Young people want to answer the question of where they will live. They wonder when they will be able to start a family; where their kids will go to school and whether they can live near their parents to support and care for them as they get older. Very often, most regrettably, they realise they can do none of this so they feel they have no option but to emigrate.
“The Government’s policy on affordable housing is failing horrendously. They need to take on board the proposals from the Opposition.”